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Why Quality beats Quantity every time for great workout results in the gym

Written by: Nick Jack
Category: 2014
on 07 May 2014
Hits: 3219

QUALITY OVER QUANTITY EVERY TIME FOR GREAT RESULTS IN THE GYM

How does the saying go? If it looks ugly, it is.

Basically, if you’re not doing an exercise with the proper form, you’re not doing the exercise at all. You might as well sit on the couch.
Proper form, posture and exercise technique is critical for achieving great results in any sport and even more so in the gym. Combined with the correct training tools for the job (such as Free weights, cable machines, Swiss balls, balance boards etc) are necessary to improve your body for movement in life. Machine training is the worst thing you can do for a person in the gym as you are basically instructing your body to shut down the stabilizers when moving heavy loads. I don't know about you but I would rather have the stabilizers firing on all cylinders when I am about to move a heavy object.

Which brings me back to the importance of training technique.
This is a component of what Paul Chek refers to as the Form Principle which takes into consideration that the nervous system always remembers the last traumatic incident it’s been through. So don’t put it through an improper traumatic incident. Your last set of an exercise should always be perfect. However, most people in the gym today follow body builder programs and take exercises to a failing point or complete exhaustion. If your technique is 100% perfectly sound then this is fine to do and you will reap enormous rewards. If however you have poor technique, poor posture, some muscle length tension problems or carrying an injury this type of training will set you up for more pain and permanent dysfunction!
The purpose of conditioning and going into a gym is to teach your body how to become smarter and rise to a new level of movement incorporating various abilities such as strength, balance, co-ordination and agility. A bit like an upgrade on your computer. You are in a controlled environment so that under the guidance of a coach you can master all of the different types of exercises that are necessary for you, individually, first and then necessary for hobbies, sports second.
Your ultimate goal should be to master every form of movement enough times that it becomes automatic!
Once you learn to squat properly in a gym you don’t worry about your technique when you’re playing a sport, moving something at work or even just lifting something in the garden.

If you’ve done it right in the gym, it’s already built into the system.
This is what is referred to as a Motor Engram. The more frequently you perform an action the quicker you react to the command. This is because patterns of movement that are performed frequently are stored at the spinal cord level, and not the brain. And it only takes about 300-500 to learn an engram the first time, but over 5000 perfect reps to change a faulty one!
This is why it is so important for a new gym goer or someone recovering from injury to learn ONLY GOOD MOVEMENTS. This way it will teach the body the perfect automatic movement it needs to prevent further injury. We like to use an IPAD app called Ubersense to help track video motion of our clients and compare their technique to ours. Below is an example of clients performing various gym movements to give you an idea of why this article is so important for people to read.
So let's take a look at some of the more difficult movements so you can have a clear understanding of what PERFECT EXERCISE TECHNIQUE looks like. We will also show you exercises performed with poor technique versus good technique

THE DEADLIFT

The deadilift is one of the exercises that requires a great understanding of your pelvic tilt and where you are in space ( known as pro-prioception ) This movement is also linked very closely to Lower Back Pain, in particular DISC BULGE pain as repetitive bending with poor technique will set you up for a lifetime of problems. If you are reading this and thinking this is me. I highly encourage you to watch the video we made a while ago about Lower Back Pain. Click Here to watch it. And one thing that people who have low back pain from this movement is to avoid the exercise. But what I am going to tell you here is that you need to be doing it more than ever! A good quote by Tony Robbins that I tell all of my clients is "If You Can't, You Must". Meaning that if the exercise is likely to hurt you, you must find a way to learn how to become the master of the movement so it can no longer hurt you. Unfortunately most Physios, Doctors etc tell people, "You should never do squats" or "Dont lift heavy things ever in the gym" which is absolute craziness. The use it or lose it theory will take place and you will become a weaker version of yourself. So instead of having a computer upgrade you are now getting a computer virus! Anyway, let's take a look at the deadlift.

  • Position the block or box height such that it allows you to keep a natural arch in your low back at the lowest point of the exercise.
  • Standing with feet a comfortable width apart.
  • Reach down keeping the natural arch in your low back. GraB the bar a little more than shoulder width apart. Pick the chest up, look forward inhale drawing the belly button inward.
  • Bend forward slightly until the bar is at knee level; lift the torso to the top position, exhaling through pursed lips through the most difficult point of the movement. Imagine trying to push the ground away from you with your feet.
  • At the top repeat the inhaling process before lowering to the ground.

 

THE SQUAT

The squat is another one of the exercises we find people really struggle to get right. Especially the experienced gym junkie who has done a lot of classes. The instruction of "dont let your knees go over your toes" would have to be one of the worst cues ever used in a gym. And unfortunately it is still being used today. I train several personal trainers and they have never been shown the correct technique either and when I put them in the right place for the first time they feel a massive quad contraction. Most people are adopting a deadlift technique to their squats. Tight calves and poor posture are the most significant factors in completing this poorly. So please whatever you do, make sure you watch the video below as it is hard to do justice to this exercise in text. If you cant squat correctly then you will have trouble jumping because they share the same relative timing of muscle contractions and stretching.

  • Standing with a barbell resting on your upper back hands slightly wider than shoulders.
  • Lift your chest up to activate your upper back muscles and drive the elbows forward. Take a comfortable stance wide enough that allows you squat down between your legs.
  • Take a deep diaphragmatic breath then draw your belly button inward.
  • Lower down into a squat as low as you can keep the natural arch in your low back.
  • Exhale through pursed lips as you return to standing.

THE LUNGE

Lastly my favourite exercise, the lunge. I like this one the most because it allows you to move in a very athletic position and it mimics a lot of sports. You can do this movement forwards, backwards, sideways, jumping, static and in motion and works extremely well with arm actions of pulling, pushing and twisting. This stance activates many of the Slings in the body to train your CORE to a superior level. Look at our article on CORE STRENGTH TRAINING for exercise examples. Tight hip flexors and weak glutes usually contribute to poor form with this exercise so we find many people struggle to execute the technique correctly. This exercise along with step ups, is also the hardest for people with Knee Pain but is also the one they must learn to do well in order to overcome it forever! In many cases we need to go back to Glute Strength Training basics to be able to integrate the system better. In our Knee Pain Toolkit we go through step by step how to do this. Watch the video below and see if you can execute exactly how we show you. 

  • Standing upright in a split stance holding a barbell across your upper back. Lift your chest up to activate your upper back muscles and drive your elbows forward.
  • Drawing your belly button inwards bend your knees to lower to the point where your back knee just touches the ground.
  • Push with your legs to return to standing and repeat.
  • Perform on the opposite side.

These would be 3 of our Key Primal Pattern Movements and the 3 that most people struggle with the most. Also you can check out the video we did for Womens Health & Fitness Magazine on Weight Training techniques and where we discuss poor push up form and abdominal form.

If you would like to know more about Exercise Technique or would like a program to get you started make sure you fill out the form below or check out our ONLINE TRAINING PROGRAM where we can set up a Skype call to discuss your goals and needs. We have 12 week Fast Start programs and also a 12 Month program where you receive weekly phone calls and unlimited email support to ensure you get the best training program possible. We have heaps of Free Reports that give you step by step instructions with pictures to ensure you get it right every time. Click the images below to download

    

Remember EXERCISE TECHNIQUE IS EVERYTHING in the gym. So only do good stuff!